When 8-year-old Brody was asked about his one true wish, there was no hesitation. He wanted a pet dragon.
Brody was referred to Make-A-Wish® Idaho while his family was moving here from Washington State. Throughout Brody’s introduction to Make-A-Wish and throughout his treatment he steadfastly requested what seemed like an impossible wish to grant. Brody wished not just for a toy dragon, but an animatronic smart robot that would communicate and learn from him. There are very few people in the country with the skill and imagination to create such a thing, and in a very happy coincidence, Caleb Chung, master toy builder and the co-creator of the Furby and PLEO resides in Boise. As a part of his wish, Brody requested to not only receive this toy but also take part in its creation. He wanted to participate in planning, designing, and dreaming of the details to be included in his dragon. Brody likes to tinker and understand how things work, so finding the right team to build his dream “pet” was imperative to the success of this wish. Caleb recruited an incredible network of professionals including a master puppeteer, engineers, software designers, and an expert “creature painter.” Caleb and Brody connected instantly. Brody’s mom, Kim, said “When he [Brody] met with Caleb, that was phenomenal, because they just clicked.”
After months of hard work, the dragon was ready to be presented to Brody. On June 7th, 2014, nearly 700 guests were invited to the Egyptian Theatre in downtown Boise for the big reveal. These guests included Brody’s family, friends, classmates, as well as other Make-A-Wish supporters. Brody’s excitement built throughout the day as more and more guests, in their best Viking attire, filled the theatre. Finally, it was show time. Brody and his family entered the theatre and were greeted with applause and cheers from the Viking audience. The dragon presentation began with a team of bagpipers entering the theatre, followed by some very special Vikings (Caleb Chung and project manager Len Levitt) carrying a large wooden crate. Brody was invited up on stage, along with his brother Roman, and his dragon was revealed. In the crate sat a baby Night Fury, made famous by the DreamWorks animated film, “How to Train Your Dragon.” Brody’s face lit up, as this is his favorite movie. The animatronic dragon is able to move on its own, which it demonstrated by stretching its wings and moving its head to look around. Brody spoke to the audience, thanking the design team, the staff of Make-A-Wish Idaho, and all of the supporters who came out for the event.
Following the dragon reveal, with the help of DreamWorks Animation, Make-A-Wish Idaho was able to host the United States premiere of the movie “How to Train Your Dragon 2.”
This magical day ended with tears of joy. Caleb Chung reflected on the process of making the dragon, and said “I have the same wish Brody does, I think we all do. We want a magical companion, that thing from our childhood to come to life…Brody’s getting this wonderful gift, but I am too.”